Divorce – Fault or no fault

Professor Liz Trinder conducted a “Finding Fault” study which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation in relation to Divorce, Dissolution and Separation. The study highlighted many problems with the current divorce law, including conflict and unfairness. In the survey, 43% of the respondents to a fault divorce reported that the fact used was not closely related to the real reason for the separation. The study also highlighted that the requirement of ‘fault’ in divorces creates or fuels conflict which could have an impact on children. Findings in the study also reported that 62% of petitioners and 78% of respondents said their experience using fault had made the process more bitter.

The divorce, dissolution and separation bill was introduced in the house of commons on 13th June 2019 and had a second reading on 25th June 2019 was passed without a division and progressed to the committee stage. The bill proposes to retain irretrievable breakdown as the sole ground for divorce but to remove the requirement to establish a ‘fact’ such as behaviour which is the most common ground. Instead, the requirement will be for one or both parties to file a statement of irretrievable breakdown which would be confirmed after a minimum waiting period of six months.

Please click here for a summary of the bill.